Doctors fear mute 'Piano Man' will never be identified

Now, four months later, the mute blond virtuoso remains in a psychiatric hospital in Dartford. His carerssaid yesterday that they believe that he may never be identified.

He was taken to the Medway Maritime Hospital in Gillingham on 7 April and when staff gave him a pen and paper, he drew detailed pictures of a grand piano. When he was shown a piano in the hospital chapel, he played classical music "beautifully" for four hours.

Staff at the West Kent NHS Trust are still sifting through a list of more than 200 names provided during a welter of publicity about the case when it first became public in May.

Camera crews from Germany to Japan descended on bemused citizens of the Isle of Sheppey, where Piano Man was found, as news of the talented musician in a wet suit spread around the globe. But despite a number of promising leads, ranging from suggestions that Piano Man was a French street musician to a Czech concert pianist, nothing has come to light which has given the patient a nationality, let alone a name. A source at the West Kent trust said: "We have discounted a lot of the names and continue to look at those which remain. But there is no obvious lead - we haven't had someone bashing down the door saying, 'This is my son' or 'This is my brother'.

"Given the enormous amount of publicity about Piano Man we think it surprising that someone who knows him has not come forward.

"It is possible that his family lead an isolated existence and have not seen the stories but we have to prepare ourselves for the fact that we may never know who he is and that he may be with us for a long time."

The search for the identity of the slightly-built man is being conducted by the trust with the help of Scotland Yard and the National Missing Persons Helpline.

But in the absence of a definite claim from a family member, staff are having to rely on names provided by people identifying Piano Man as a school friend or acquaintance.

The team are also having to deal with calls from families claiming Piano Man as a long-disappeared relative. The source said: "We have had people saying he is a long-lost child or something on similar lines but sadly they are cases of hope rather than reality."

Psychiatrists do not know why the man, who continues to shrink from any stranger, has not spoken a word for four months. Diagnoses of his condition initially focused on post-traumatic stress disorder but it is now thought he may be an autistic savant. Sufferers of the condition can display extraordinary but highly specific talents, such as drawing or mathematics, while at the same time remaining withdrawn or uncommunicative to the point of remaining silent.

The removal of labels from clothing can also be associated with autism.

Officially the trust will not comment on the young man's treatment beyond saying that his physical health remains good. But it is understood he is showing increasing signs of rapport with a small number of trusted carers.

When Piano Man was found wandering in the dark beside the beach, he had not only cut the labels from the dark suit he was wearing but also rubbed any identifying marks from his shoes.

The sheer lack of any identifying signs along with Piano Man's inability to communicate has produced a succession of theories as to how he arrived on the Kent coast, from being a Norwegian sailor to a member of a visiting orchestra.

Staff at the Littlebrook Hospital are increasingly clinging on to the hope that Piano Man will himself give up his identity.

A spokesman said: "It may be that matters suddenly progress and the next thing we hear about Piano Man is that he has been returned to his family."

News
The Banksy image in Folkestone before it was vandalised
people
Life and Style
tech

Sales of the tablet are set to fall again, say analysts

Sport
Louis van Gaal at the Hawthorns prior to Manchester United's game against West Brom
football

Follow the latest updates from the Monday night Premier League fixture

News
i100
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Arts and Entertainment
Bloom Time: Mira Sorvino
tvMira Sorvino on leaving movie roles for 'The Intruders'
News
Brian Harvey turned up at Downing Street today demanding to speak to the Prime Minister
news

Met Police confirm there was a 'minor disturbance' and that no-one was arrested

Arts and Entertainment
George Lucas poses with a group of Star Wars-inspired Disney characters at Disney's Hollywood Studios in 2010
films

George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios

Voices
Chris Grayling, Justice Secretary: 'There are pressures which we are facing but there is not a crisis'
voices

Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?

Life and Style
A street vendor in Mexico City sells Dorilocos, which are topped with carrot, jimaca, cucumber, peanuts, pork rinds, spices and hot sauce
food + drink

Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets

News
Blackpool is expected to become one of the first places to introduce the Government’s controversial new Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs)
news

Concerns raised phenomenon is threatening resort's image as a family destination

Life and Style
gaming

I Am Bread could actually be a challenging and nuanced title

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Year 5 Teacher

    £80 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Year 5 Teacher KS2 teaching job...

    Software Developer

    £35000 - £45000 Per Annum Pensions Scheme After 6 Months: Clearwater People So...

    Systems Analyst / Business Analyst - Central London

    £35000 - £37000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Systems Analyst / Busines...

    Senior Change Engineer (Network, Cisco, Juniper) £30k

    £30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: Senior Change ...

    Day In a Page

    Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

    'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

    If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
    James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

    The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

    Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
    Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

    Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

    Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
    Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

    Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

    Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
    How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

    How to dress with authority

    Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
    New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

    New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

    'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
    Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

    Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

    The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
    Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

    Tim Minchin interview

    For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
    Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

    Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

    Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
    Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

    Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

    Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album
    Hugh Bonneville & Peter James: 'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'

    How We Met: Hugh Bonneville & Peter James

    'Peter loves his classic cars; I've always pootled along fine with a Mini Metro. I think I lack his panache'
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's heavenly crab dishes don't need hours of preparation

    Bill Granger's heavenly crab recipes

    Scared off by the strain of shelling a crab? Let a fishmonger do the hard work so you can focus on getting the flavours right
    Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

    Radamel Falcao: How faith and love drive the Colombian to glory

    After a remarkable conversion from reckless defender to prolific striker, Monaco's ace says he wants to make his loan deal at Old Trafford permanent
    Terry Venables: Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England

    Terry Venables column

    Premier League managers must not be allowed to dictate who plays and who does not play for England
    The Inside Word: Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past

    Michael Calvin's Inside Word

    Brendan Rodgers looks to the future while Roy Hodgson is ghost of seasons past